Record Child Neglect Cases Referred

23 August 2017, 06:43

Girl crying - abuse

A leading children's charity referred a record number of reports of child neglect to Scottish authorities last year.

The NSPCC helpline in Scotland made 905 referrals to the police and social services in 2016/17 following calls or emails from concerned adults, up on 369 in 2011/12.

There were a further 78 contacts to the helpline last year where advice was provided about a child possibly facing neglect.

Across the UK, the NSPCC helpline made 16,882 referrals regarding neglect to children's services or the police in 2016/17, with the issue mentioned in more than a quarter of all calls.

The organisation said the rise showed that more people are willing to speak up about the issue.

But the NSPCC also warned the full scale of neglect cases could be much greater, and has called on the UK Government to commission a nationwide study to measure the extent of the problem.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the charity, said: "Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse.

"This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.

"At the same time, it is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes.

"Therefore, a Government-commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later."